ATLANTA - The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has launched an advocacy program to provide technical guidance to government in developing programs related to the built environment.

According to ASHRAE, the new effort will give the Society a stronger voice in legislative and regulatory policy development. ASHRAE's areas of expertise include energy efficiency, indoor air quality, codes and standards, and guidance for a safe environment during extraordinary incidents.

"The global importance of energy and the environment is at an all time high," Lee Burgett, P.E., ASHRAE president, said. "ASHRAE can make a solid contribution to government action as agencies address these issues. ASHRAE standards are cited internationally, and our research and position documents are used worldwide. Through our advocacy efforts, ASHRAE will promote positions based on a solid engineering foundation and contribute to both domestic and global debates. Never more critical, such input has been sorely lacking in the past."

Terry Townsend, P.E., who will chair the new Government Advocacy Committee and who serves as ASHRAE president-elect, agreed.

"ASHRAE seeks to provide a solid technical basis for legislative and regulatory actions that can make our world a better place to live and work," he said.

Townsend noted that ASHRAE has a history of providing technical guidance for the government.

"During the energy crisis in the 1970s, ASHRAE was asked by federal agencies to develop an energy conservation standard for buildings that would save energy and provide a uniform basis for doing so," he said. "This original energy standard, now named Standard 90.1, ‘Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings,' influences building designs worldwide. It has become the basis for building codes in all 50 states and for federal building construction."

According to the Society, ASHRAE's advocacy efforts are designed to improve access to its expertise. ASHRAE develops environmental control technologies through standards, research, and engineering education.

"Our long tradition of making significant improvements to the quality of life obligates us to share our expertise with government," Townsend said. "Our documents are the technical foundation for many of the activities now being promoted by other organizations for improved energy efficiency and indoor air quality. ASHRAE is committed to not only assisting government but also helping related groups in the private sector that rely on ASHRAE documents in their public policy work."

Publication date: 07/25/2005